It is time to Play the Angel’s Advocate

Amar Pandit , CFA , CFP

How many times have we all heard this line “I am playing the Devil’s Advocate here or Let me play the Devil’s Advocate”? This is a simple way of asking “What can go wrong? What are the challenges that would show up?” This is also a way to have doubts or not believing something yet.

On the other hand, I am yet to hear someone say, “Let me play the Angel’s Advocate”. I even typed Angel’s Advocate in the Dictionary and saw No Results. The Angel’s Advocate would simply ask “What do I want?”

In the Investing world, we have too many Devil’s advocates. News that we read is typically bad news. The good news or the normal news rarely make their way to the headlines. Thus, many people start believing the world is getting worse. However, investing as a philosophy is based on the foundation of a better future. The reality is that the world is indeed getting better and the future is likely to be better than one might imagine.

Now imagine an Angel asking you “What do you wish for?”  Visualize your dreams/goals. This is playing the Angel’s Advocate and becomes the foundation of your investing process.

You can then combine this with your (not the media’s) Devil’s Advocate asking, “What can go wrong?” The next most important step is to write down action points with an If-Then framework saying “If the markets go down, Then I will sit tight or I will buy more if I have surplus money. I will not panic because I have kept contingency funds and I have invested long term money I do not need in equities. I am an investor and not a speculator /gambler or trader focused on short term movements.”

It is time to UP your Angel’s Advocate and Play it Well.